There is no reason why GLOW should work as well as it does. It is a fictional series based on the real-life syndicated pro wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. After a documentary on that 1980s program did well on Netflix, the streaming juggernaut opted to greenlight a scripted series of their own.
Back in 2017, GLOW officially premiered on Netflix and it was met with high praise. The series racked up a bunch of accolades including a handful of Emmy nominations. To date, three seasons have been completed with a fourth and final one tentatively set for 2020. In celebration, we are ranking the 10 best episodes.
10 Nothing Shattered (Season 2, Episode 7)
At the end of the sixth episode of Season 2, viewers watched as Debbie (Betty Gilpin) did the unthinkable and injured Ruth (Alison Brie). "Nothing Shattered" opened with the whole gang coming together to get Ruth to the hospital. As Ruth laid in pain, her castmates found ways to make her smile during a fun montage.
It hammered home how this was a family for Ruth. The real treat of this episode came when the girls left and Debbie arrived. She and Ruth engage in a shouting match heard throughout the hospital. They aired out their dirty laundry and it was some of the best acting we've ever seen on the series.
9 Live Studio Audience (Season 1, Episode 7)
After weeks of setup, it was finally time to see the ladies of GLOW in action. "Live Studio Audience" saw them perform their first live show as something of a test viewing for the network executives. Though they were well prepared, things go wrong from the start.
A tag team match becomes a racial controversy. The most experienced wrestler of the crew, Carmen (Britney Young), got stage fright and couldn't perform. The main event between Ruth and Debbie was interrupted when Debbie's husband showed up with divorce papers. But as always, this show balanced the drama with comedy in expert fashion.
8 The Good Twin (Season 2, Episode 8)
We can understand why some folks were unhappy with this episode. It comes right after a hugely emotional moment and is a diversion from everything, but that is why it's so great. For 99% of its runtime, "The Good Twin" was an episode of GLOW, the show that director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) has been making.
Everything was straight out of the gloriously cheesy 80s. The episode was filled with vignettes, advertisements, and music videos featuring the characters from GLOW. It also allowed us the chance to actually see the matches the girls were always training for. It was as if we were part of the show's universe.
7 Maybe It's All The Disco (Season 1, Episode 8)
As great as it is to view the wrestling on the show and to see these gimmicks play out, some of the best moments come from the characters bonding. That was the case with "Maybe It's All the Disco." The most important part of it saw the women celebrate Sheila's (Gayle Rankin) birthday at a roller disco.
It proved to be a pivotal scene in terms of building the relationship among the entire cast. Elsewhere, Sam and Ruth also bonded while looking at a venue for the pilot and Debbie dealt with her impending divorce. This was also the episode where the show tackled the often controversial topic of abortion.
6 Freaky Tuesday (Season 3, Episode 5)
One of the criticisms that GLOW faced during its third season was a lack of actual wrestling. That changed in a big way with "Freaky Tuesday." Due to the back issues of Tammé (Kia Stevens), the cast decided to swap their roles and their rad costumes. That meant we got to see things like Ruth as the All-American Liberty Belle and Debbie as Zoya.
Watching these characters play completely different roles made for one of the most fun episodes in the show's history. This also gave us the return of Justine (Britt Baron) as she came to Las Vegas to bond with her father and have him read her screenplay. An enjoyable episode with some heart to it.
5 Money's In The Chase (Season 1, Episode 10)
Most great TV shows know how to deliver with their finales. GLOW did just that when its first season wrapped up with "Money's in the Chase." This was the culmination of everything the season had been building to. With Sam missing in action, Ruth ran the pilot and we got to see how a live crowd reacted to their hard work.
This was an episode filled with twists. Ruth and Debbie pulled a surprise with the ending of the pilot that stunned everyone, but then Sam arrived and threw another wrench into their plans. He had Tammé steal the championship from Liberty because he knew that the money for the next season would be in Liberty chasing the title.
4 Every Potato Has A Receipt (Season 2, Episode 10)
See what we mean about strong season finales? Season 2 of GLOW also ended in entertaining fashion with "Every Potato Has a Receipt." This episode opened with the emotional farewell between Sam and Justine as she moved back to Sacramento to live with her mother.
From there, we got to witness another finale filled with twists. The in-ring wedding got switched at the last minute to give us an unexpected romance between Bash (Chris Lowell) and Rhonda (Kate Nash). The real kicker came when Sam told Ruth that she was winning the crown. Everyone was behind Ruth as she got rewarded for the hard work she always put into the show.
3 Work The Leg (Season 2, Episode 6)
As noted earlier, "Work the Leg" concluded with one of the more shocking moments in the series' history. Debbie wrenched back on Ruth's leg during their match and we all heard a snap as the episode cut to black. The build-up to that moment was just as great. It all got set in motion when Bash informed the women that their timeslot was given to a men's wrestling show.
That forced the girls to train extra hard to do more dangerous moves that would excite the audience. Debbie's mood was worsened by seeing her husband's new lover and the possible indulgence of cocaine. The lighter side of the episode focused more on the budding Sam/Ruth relationship as she attended a showing of one of his films with him.
2 Mother Of All Matches (Season 2, Episode 4)
In this episode, Kia Stevens plays Tammé but she isn't a traditional actress. To date, GLOW is her only acting credit as she is more known for being a real-life pro wrestler. But when she was thrust into the spotlight for "Mother of All Matches," she knocked it out of the park.
This episode told two stories of two mothers. Debbie sold all of her furniture as she tried to get over her divorce and forgot her son at daycare. Tammé visited her son at college before he came to see the show. It all built to a match between Debbie and Tammé, which Debbie won but her antics turned the crowd against her. That's when Ruth stepped in to save things. Great plot twists and outstanding performances from Stevens and Gilpin made this special.
1 A Very GLOW Christmas (Season 3, Episode 10)
It is fitting that the top spot goes to another finale. Season 3's "A Very GLOW Christmas" was one of the more unique installments. The ladies threw away the show they had been running for months and told a wrestling version of A Christmas Carol. They did so in a creative fashion and it was a delight to watch. But this episode dug much deeper than that.
Keith (Bashir Salahuddin) and Cherry (Sydelle Noel) reunited, while Sam legally became Justine's father in two touching scenes. There was also the big twist that Bash and Debbie struck a deal to purchase a TV station, which would lead to GLOW getting back on the air. And it ended with another twist as Ruth declined a fantastic offer to be the show's director.